The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

In this season of thankfulness, it’s great to have The Caravan back

A current Caravan writer on the return of the student newspaper after a hiatus
James McCormac
The three writers for The Caravan in the 21st Century Media course this year are (from left) Matt Malloy, Jack Breakey, and James McCormac.

The Caravan, the student newspaper of Mount Carmel, has just finished its first trimester of this school year, and I am thankful that it’s back.

Created within the 21st Century Media course, it’s another outlet of journalism for students to partake in at MC. Also it’s one of the few classes/clubs at MC that has a very direct influence on one’s possible career path. Plus, it’s an honors-level class that really helps to improve a student’s writing capabilities, which is really important for those in their junior and senior year who are preparing for the college writing experience.

The class did not run in the 2022-23 school year due to no students choosing to take it, but it was decided that it would remain an elective option for the next year in the hope that some students would decide to sign up. This worked, and the three students in the class, junior Matt Malloy, senior Jack Breakey, and I have worked hard these past three months to put out twenty six articles in the first trimester.

With a requirement of at least eight pieces published per person each trimester and a goal of seventy two articles for the year we are ahead of schedule by quite a bit. This is much behind what the newspaper was producing before its hiatus. “Our staff produced over 200 stories covering a variety of categories including news, sports, commentary, and features,” said former 21st Century Media teacher Mr. John Haggerty about the production of the 2020-21 year in his last Daily Caravan Update in May of 2021. Haggerty ran The Caravan prior to his retirement at the end of that school year, and since then Mr. Tim Baffoe ’00 has taken over moderating the school newspaper along with teaching the class that has existed for decades at MC.

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“I wasn’t officially part of the class when I went here, though I wanted to be,” says Mr. Baffoe, who struggled through AP Physics his senior year instead. “I did contribute an article or two for The Caravan on my own as a student at MC, though.” Since then Mr. Baffoe went on to not only become an English teacher but also work as a sports writer, so he brings that writing experience to teaching the course.

With there only being three staff writers, we are limited in the amount of articles we can put out. Should more people register for the class in the future, the volume of production of The Caravan of old will return. The addition of honors credit to the course this year also will hopefully attract more contributors. I would highly encourage current sophomores and juniors to consider it when making their class selections for their next year.

The Caravan is a great way for students who are interested in journalism and media to experience what writing for a publication is like. Breakey and Malloy are also in the Caravan Media Group, which broadcasts home sports games and other video media duties. “I announce the football and basketball games,” says Malloy, the self coined “Voice of the Caravan. “I just saw [21st Century Media] as a way for me to expand my knowledge in journalism since it’s something I’m interested in.” Malloy and I also write for the school’s satirical publication, The Merchant. The three of us are thankful for the opportunity to further our interests in journalism through this class and be able to provide a service to the Caravan community at the same time.

Journalism being offered in high schools is not that unique, but the media arts are definitely something important to have at MC in order to continue to attract students with a wide range of interests.

Most students in their junior and definitely senior year are thinking about one thing–college. Where they want to go to college and what they want to do is heavily influenced by their classes and extracurriculars they take during their four years at MC. The 21st Century Media class gives great insight into the world of journalism.

“It’s simple really,” says Breakey. “It is a very practical class that has a direct corresponding career path for students to take in the future.” Although Breakey is not planning on going into the journalism, instead focusing on his interest in international relations, he expressed his happiness about being able to experience something he considered a hobby. And the writing skills can apply to a variety of careers outside of journalism.

Taking journalism at MC can let a student figure out if this is something they would be interested in doing for the rest of their life. “I’m very interested in journalism,” says Malloy. “It’s something I’m going to do in college and hopefully take all the way.”

Another thing that is very important for college and for nearly every course is being a very good writer. The media class helps us to become better writers so that when it’s time to write a college essay it’s not as difficult as it would be. “I heard Mr. Baffoe was teaching this class,” says Breakey. “Although I had heard mixed things about him, the one consistent thing was that he would make you a better writer.”

Developing writing skills will help in other classes too and we are thankful for its ability to lessen the burden of other writing focused classes that we take. Mr. Baffoe likes to stress that to develop writing skills lots of actual practice in writing is needed instead of not just being told “how” to write. “All writing is good writing in the sense that it’s a skill that needs to be honed through practice, practice, practice and revision, revision, revision along with consistency,” says Mr. Baffoe. “No good writer is born pouring out genius onto a keyboard, and no good writer got good by writing between long gaps of not writing. So a school newspaper is good for teaching the student writers a specific way of writing–journalistically–as well as honing the overall craft of putting thoughts down into something others can read.”

But a school newspaper benefits not only the writers themselves. “For the school itself and the MC community,” says Mr. Baffoe, “student journalism is an important way to inform those who are not in the know regarding the goings on around the school. Also, journalism overall is unfortunately being pushed to the back burner of the collective consciousness as more people choose to get ‘news’ from less-than-reliable forms of media rather than attempting to be truly informed.”

The Caravan is pumping out articles and will hopefully be able to crush their initial output goal. “I’m expecting a pretty good volume of content considering the small number of writers that we have,” says Mr. Baffoe.

Now more than ever the community has grown more aware of what is going on in MC thanks to The Caravan. “If you’re an alumni you have no idea what’s going on in Carmel for the most part,” says Breakey. “This really helps to keep the people who aren’t around as much in touch.”

Mr. Baffoe is thankful for the journalistic writing process that has returned to his classroom. “I love seeing the process of brainstorming, interviewing, drafting, and revising all come together in a polished piece that people get to read and that a student gets to say, ‘I did that’,” says Mr. Baffoe.

The Caravan newspaper has been an positive experience not just for those reading it, but as a writer I am also thankful for having.

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About the Contributor
James McCormac
James McCormac, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.